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gothenburg (goteborg), stockholm, helsingor, copenhagen

gothenburg (goteborg), stockholm, helsingor, copenhagen

Sep 2nd, 2010, 08:15 PM
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gothenburg (goteborg), stockholm, helsingor, copenhagen

This is an attempt to provide a very brief trip report. Disclaimer: we are not foodies per se, we had a preschooler with us, and we had a limited budget. We went to Sweden to pick up a Volvo through the European Delivery/Overseas Delivery program. We had to fly into Gothenburg (Swedish spelling: Goteborg). Volvo put us up in a nice hotel Radisson Blu in the center of Gothenburg. The hotel was nice, a bit outdated. We were provided with a voucher for their outstanding breakfast buffet and it was the highlight of the hotel. The hotel is very similar to an Embassy Suites in the US. A word of warning: we went in mid-August and by then it was pretty rainy on the West coast of Sweden. The locals told us that it was pretty typical of that time of the year. I live in Seattle, where August is the sunniest and best month, but it is more of an exception elsewhere.

The next day, we picked up our volvo and drove to Orebro, where we spent the night. We walked into the city at night on a Wednesday night and it was pretty dead. they have a castle in Orebro that dates back to 16th century. It looks more impressive in pictures, including my pictures, than it looked to me in person. There are offices and apartments in the castle, so it is not a museum or a place to tour. We picked Orebro to stay overnight simply because it was 2.5 hours away from Gothenburg on the way to Stockholm and we didn't want to drive 5 hours to Stockholm while still jetlagged.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 2nd, 2010, 08:50 PM
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After checking out from our Ibis hotel in Orebro, we headed straight for Stockholm. We had to drive into the city and got lost trying to find our hotel. It worked out great, even though it was stressful at the time. We meandered through Norrmalm in the middle of the workday and as a passenger I got to people-watch the busy professionals in the business center of Stockholm, while my husband was dodging traffic and trying to figure out which ...gatan (street) would lead us to our final destination - Sheraton stockholm.

We finally found it and were pleased with our location right in the center of the city, next to the Central Station, the city hall, and within walking distance to Sodermalm. We checked in, loved our room, and headed out to see the city. We grabbed some lunch at a Chinese restaurant very close to the hotel, simply because we were tired and a bit disoriented. We went towards Gamla Stan (the Old Town) and ended up walking up Västerlånggatan, which is full of souvenir shops and tourists, but is charming nonetheless.
Our son fell asleep in a stroller and had a lovely dinner in a charming cafe in Köpmangatan.

Next, we headed towards Sodermalm and ended up on Gotgatan, which felt very hip and full of young and stylish locals. We didn't see a lot of people who looked like tourists at all. We wondered into some stylish all-white bar, that had a rooftop veranda. it served sushi, although we didn't order any. Sushi is very popular in Stockholm, but the sushi we tried there was different from sushi in the U.S.

Stockholm was overwhelmingly beautiful to me. Both my husband and I were impressed by the architecture and the charm of it. I would highly recommend it just because the city felt very hip and happening. I think it would appeal to everyone, but it spoke to us like no other city because it was so vibrant, different, ambitious, and unique.

The next day we headed to Norrmalm and Vasastan. We walked down Norr Malastrant, which is a waterfront street with cafes on lake Malaren. Lovely... Later in the day ended up Drottningatan, which is a pedestrian-only street full of shops. We meandered through various streets looking for playgrounds and ended up in a park near Drottningtatan and the Observatory with a beautiful fountain, don't know the name but it had a great playground. Even later that day, we returned to Gamla Stan and found an even better playground in a courtyard of the old buildings, next to a sculpture of a naked boy mounting a horse, where my son happily played with a couple of other American kids who temporarily live in Stockholm. I am not the greatest writer and cannot convey the beauty of all these places adequately, but it was quite a privilege to be surrounded by all this history.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 04:08 AM
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oooh, thank you thank you. no snarky comments here! I look forward to more installments as I think we are truly planning this trip...

We are thinking of staying in Gamla Stan - would you recommend staying there ? I like to hear that there is playground there... even though mine are older, they would rather go play at a playground than watch tv. (that is one thing I love about my kids).
surfmom is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 07:01 AM
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I don't know any hotels in Gamla Stan, although we passed some signs. Once we returned back, I checked out Airbnb.com and found some apartment rentals in Stockholm that were quite affordable and a couple were in Gamla Stan.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 07:19 AM
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I will stop fawning over Stockholm and continue on to Copenhagen. After spending 3 days in Stockholm, we drove on E-4 to Helsingborg on the Swedish side to catch a ferry to Helsingor and see the Hamlet's castle. It was raining cats and dogs, so we just proceeded to drive to Copenhagen. We did come back to Helsingor on our way back to Gothenburg 4 days later and toured the castle and walked to old streets of downtown Helsingor. It was a really neat little city, but I wouldn't want to spend a night there. A day trip for a few hours was quite enough.

In Copenhagen, we booked a hotel that was quite a distance away from the center. We used Hotwire, so the hotel was prepaid and it worked out great for us in the end, because we joined the hotel chain's club and were given access to their lounge for free breakfast and free unlimited booze in the afternoon. Seriously, they would have bottles of hard liquor (whisky, gin, vodka) set out on the counter for people in the hotel lounge. In addition to it, there was beer, Carlsberg and other options, and wine and some snacks to go with it.

When we got to Copenhagen, I was struck by how different it looked from what I pictured. In every tour guide I read before the trip, I saw primarily pictures of Nyhavn and Christianhavn area. Both areas are quite small and the city generally is full of dark red brick buildings that seemed to be more contemporary, rather than the multi-colored 16-17th centuries architecture. Our naivete, I know...

Our hotel was in Orestad, where the Climate Change talks took place, and we had a fantastic view of the city from our 21st floor room. We had to catch a metro that only took about 15 minutes to get to the city. We got off in Kronberg Nyhavn and were surprised to find an art installation in the metro station that featured music, a modern dance performance by semi-dressed dancers (yes, there were boobs, which was totally fine by us) being projected on a wall of the station, and an airbed, once you get up to the top, which was designed to let people lay down and watch the clouds. It was a very interesting introduction into the city.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:24 AM
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Hi RainyDay09: We're on a Baltic Cruise next year and we're thinking of renting segway's; would you recommend this for our 1/2 day tour of Stockholm?
Sominex is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 08:48 AM
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I'm enjoying your report very much. I love Stockholm, it's a fabulous city.

Surfmom, we staying in Gamla Stan, at the Lady Hamilton hotel. It's a building from the 14th century, a bit quirky, tons of nautical antiqes for decor. The rooms are small, but the hotel was so cozy...important because we were there in the dead of winter...the staff were very nice and helpful. They have a nice dining room where breakfast is served...great breakfast, and during the day you can get a coffee or beer etc. The also serve in the evening if you want.

I loved Gamla Stan..the palace, Stockholm Cathedral (the official church of the royal family) is there and the Nobel Museum. Lots of restaurants, shops..touristy of course, but also there are a lot of apartments where locals live.

Sorry to hijack the thread RainyDay. Looking forward to your next installment. We stayed in Nyhavn in Copenhagen and liked that area very much. There is quite a different feeling between Copenhagen and Stockholm.
crefloors is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 06:04 PM
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Hi Som, I don't know about segways. We didn't see anyone on segways in Stockholm, although it does make sense, because you'll be able to cover a lot of ground. I have to admit I felt very uncool next to the locals in Stockholm, so being on a segway would make me feel dorky, but you might be more self-confident. I thought the city was pretty walkable and was glad we didn't drive in the city at all, once we got there.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2010, 06:49 PM
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OK, Copenhagen: we strolled up Stroget from the Kronberg Nyhavn metro station and got to Radhuspladsen. There was a huge gay parade or celebration going on with speakers blasting music, booths serving food, and lots of people mulling around. We, of course, headed out to Tivoli. The daywas getting sunnier. The entire time we were in Scandinavia, I don't think we had a single day that went without rain. So, we were happy that at least it wasn't raining while we were in Tivoli. our son truly enjoyed it. We bought some fish food and fed the fish in the pond next to the Pirate Ship restaurant. We found a couple of smaller rides that our son enjoyed, but overall I wasn't impressed with Tivoli. We didn't stay until dark, so that may have made a difference. I hear it is quite enchanting at night. Once we got to our hotel, we saw fireworks from Tivoli at around 9:30 or 10:00 pm. It was probably fun for people who were there.

The next morning we went to christianhavn and toured christiania, which was a bust, maybe because we were there with a kid in a stroller at noon on a Saturday. The only funny thing that happened was we saw a couple smoking a joint just next to the entrance to Christiania. They looked Arabic and were dressed very professionally and had their roll-on luggage. Once they finished a joint they jumped into a taxi that was waiting for them outside the gates into christiania. We surmised that they were on their way home from Copenhagen and decided to stop and smoke their last joint before heading home to their straight-laced life. We didn't smoke a joint, but i could totally sympathize with the couple. The rest of our stay in Copenhagen was not that remarkable. We went to the National Museum and toured the Riksdag. The National Museum has a phenomenal Children's Museum that includes a small viking ship. For more info, see http://www.natmus.dk/sw31067.asp. We checked out the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum until our 3 3/4 old got tired of Greek and Roman sculptures. The other part of Copenhagen we liked was the Latin quarter, quite diverse and more dynamic that the rest of the city.

We had a lovely time kicking a soccer (that is proper football) with a 9 year old Danish boy in a courtyard of a remarkable Danish church (don't know the name, but there is deck on top of it, so the one with the view). There was a pissoir next to it, which stunk the entire plaza that was otherwise quite charming.

We enjoyed the Harbour bus ride #901 out of Christianhavn to Holmen Nord. We did stop at the Opera House and walked around, including inside the house to see a set of spectacular glass-blown chandeliers. Seattle is a city of Chihuly so I occasionally pay attention to glass, just because...

Overall, we felt a bit out of sync in Copenhagen. It was definitely laid back and accepting of everyone and everything. It was also more dirty and touristy than Stockholm. Albeit, we were there Friday through monday and we may have missed the high-functioning working crowd altogether. I regretted allocating more time to Copenhagen that to Stockholm but we enjoyed our time in Copenhagen nonetheless.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 4th, 2010, 05:15 PM
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OK, I didn't look up the name of the metro station in Copenhagen. It is actually Kongens Nytorv, not Kronberg Nyhavn. I was typing it up from memory, sorry.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 05:06 PM
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@rainyday, thanks for the thoughts. I hear about Gamla Stan and I was just trying to get a sense of if it is quaint or crosses the line into 'touristy tacky'. It is tough to know where to draw that line... for example, for me, Eze Village has crossed the line and is no longer 'quaint', feels overrun with tourists. I'm sure I'm not making sense (!), but we'd be with kids also (albeit older than yours), so the idea that there are kids around is desirable. (also like the idea of a park nearby... mine would rather invent a game than watch tv!).

@crefloors, one of the hotels that I've looked at is Lady Hamilton! They have a few apartments and I'm need to find out cost. I would like to see more photos of the apartments than are on the website -

here is the apartment that I'm considering... thoughts ?

wow. now that's a link. I'm definately finding less options in Gamla Stan and even less that accommodate 5 people.

here are the Lady Hamilton apartments:

surfmom is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 06:45 PM
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@surfmom, I think Gamla Stan is not overwhelmingly touristy. There are a couple of streets: Västerlånggatan and Ostergatan (I may be wrong on the spelling of these streets) that are full of souvenir shops. However, I went for a walk in the morning, while my family was still sleeping and getting up, and Västerlånggatan was totally normal, full of locals. Also, I checked out Airbnb.com upon my return home and found some affordable apartments in the city, some in Sodermalm and other areas. It might be worth checking out for your family. I regretted not looking into it for our trip, but we really liked Sheraton too.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 6th, 2010, 07:02 PM
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One other highlight that I forgot to mention at the outset was that we were given passes to the SAS lounge in Chicago as part of the Volvo Overseas package. It was such a nice quiet place to relax between flights. they had free wireless internet, snacks, juices, and wine, beer and liquor. The design inside was decidedly Scandinavian and it was a preview of things to come. Definitely made a difference for us.

The other amazing thing that happened on our way back was that we met a pilot who was flying our flight back to the U.S. She was deadheading from Gothenburg on our flight to Copenhagen and my husband struck a conversation with her and she offered to show us the pilot's cabin on the flight out of Copenhagen to Chicago. she came to get us in the middle of the flight and we enjoyed the tour and the view of the pilot's cabin at 3500 feet. I was hesitant to share it at first, because it was so special, couldn't help but brag.
RainyDay09 is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 01:18 PM
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Glad to read about your Volvo OSD. We too are about to do this in October and from reading your experience, looks like our attire should consist of Pac NW fleece (we lived in Seattle for 5 yrs). Just curious if you have any tips or must-dos since we'll be traveling with our toddler as well. Did you bring a car seat and a stroller? How did you keep your child entertained during the FDC tour?
cannh is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 01:28 PM
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We considered a Volvo at our last car purchase, considered so seriously that I did trip research. Glad to read your report. Wondering why you chose Denmark as opposed to more of Sweden/Norway?

Very cool about the pilot!

How do you like your car?
rncheryl is offline  
Sep 8th, 2010, 06:59 PM
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@cannh, we got our Volvo through Ravenna Volvo. They had some tips because they said they send close to 30 people each month to Sweden. I would recommend bringing your car seat and a stroller. Our child was entertained by the books and toys we brought with us and a few things they had for kids at the Factory Delivery Center (not much). There was another family with two kids there and they had a harder time, because we could rotate between my husband and I taking turns to entertain the kid. The FDC looks like it has seen better days, it was showing its wear and tear. I would definitely suggest bringing some serious rain gear with you. We had our North Face Gore-Tex rain jackets and water-resistant shoes. If you have a DVD player, it is helpful on long road trips and airplane rides. As you can probably tell, I would highly recommend Stockholm, even though it is a long way from Gothenburg (5 hours).

@rncheryl, we considered going up to Norway, but decided to save it for the next time. We really wanted to see Copenhagen and Stockholm. I have a good friend who is Norwegian and she talked us out of going to Oslo, when given a choice for Stockholm and CPH. The road up north to see Oslo and the fjords was a bit longer and more logistically challenging with a feisty preschooler.
RainyDay09 is offline  
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